Nietzsche on Self-Overcoming

Friedrich Nietzsche was a German philosopher of the 19th century, one of the most revolutionary thinkers in Western philosophy and intellectual history. He was a cultural critic of his era, of traditional European morality and religious fundamentalism, especially of Christianity.

Nietzsche heavily emphasised the concept of selbstüberwindung or self-overcoming. By this, he means the act of expressing strong emotions or using energy by doing an activity or creating something.


We must face reality, and suffering is part of life. It is not to be eliminated, it is to be overcome, leading to growth. We make everything around us so easy, superficial, and bright, unable to face reality. Is this truly freedom? For Nietzsche, this is a simplified and falsified world. So, to delight in life itself, we must confront it at face value – everything evil, terrible, and snakelike in humanity serves just as well as its opposite to enhance the species “humanity”. We are to be grateful for even difficulties.

It is clear that pain is an inevitable part of human existence. From birth till death – there is a 100% chance that we will suffer significantly painful experiences. But people run from the pain, they spend their life trying to be comfortable. Instead of running from it, Nietzsche would want us to face the hardship, as it is the only way we grow as people.

“What does not kill me, makes me stronger.”

Imagine climbing up a mountain. There is struggle, pain, and hardship along the way. But it’s only from the top of the mountain that you can see the most beautiful views life has to offer. And it is only the people that have the courage to climb that mountain, that will ever get to see that view.

Mountain view

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Greatest Philosophers In History | Friedrich Nietzsche

Nietzsche’s main concepts on living life revolve around self-overcoming, amor fati, perspectivism, human nobility, the will to power, the eternal recurrence, and the overman.

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